Leicester City’s success sees the big clubs of European getting ready to tempt their star players away during the summer
Without doubt, the single biggest story from the English Premier League this season is Leicester City’s march towards a first Premier League title and first top flight league title since, well, never. The best Leicester has ever achieved is runner up in the old First Division back in 1929. Needless to say that what Leicester are looking increasingly likely to do is perhaps the greatest story in club football ever seen in England.
Under Claudio Ranieri, Leicester has appeared to find the perfect blend of talent, ambition, belief and sense of team rather than self.
Following a 4-0 thumping of Swansea City at the weekend, Leicester are seven points clear of Tottenham and only need, worst case, three more points from a possible nine in order to do the impossible. In fact, following Tottenham’s slip up overnight against West Brom, a win at Old Trafford would seal an historic first Premier League title for the Foxes.
Leicester’s fairytale march to the title has seen stars being made of an up to now, squad of so called journeymen and nobodies. Much has been made of Jamie Vardy’s rise from non-league football to the golden boy of England football in only four seasons. Overnight, teammate Riyad Mahrez was named PFA Player of the Year after an equally impressive rise from obscurity.
It would be fair to say that the successes of this season will ensure that next year will bring a whole new problem and dynamic for the club as interest from ‘big’ domestic clubs and those on the continent is bound to grow. Now, according to Marca in Spain, Barcelona have been first to come calling, with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel catching the eye of the Spanish giants.
According to reports, Barca are keen on the 29 year old following his stellar performance this season and would be willing to pay up to £15 million for the son of Manchester United great, Peter Schmeichel.
With the likely departure of German Marc-Andre ter Stegen from the Camp Nou for possibly Liverpool or Manchester City, the acquisition of Schmeichel would see him compete with Claudio Bravo for the number one jersey.
Nearly as difficult as winning the Premier League will be Leicester’s ability to maintain the team dynamic and form that has gotten them to the verge of greatness.
As big money offers come in, it’s almost inevitable that players will leave. Similarly, new players will come in. This will change that precious dynamic and it will take all of Ranieri’s skill and powers of persuasion to keep his core team together. Such is the curse of success, everyone wants a piece of it.
While you can’t blame someone for chasing a big money move, many would hope that Leicester City bosses erect a massive wall around the club and keep everyone together for another season.